WATCH: Labour MP becomes first to reveal he is HIV+ in Commons chamber

Posted On: 
29th November 2018

A Labour MP has become the first to reveal he is HIV+ in the debating chamber of the House of Commons.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle is the first MP to announce he is HIV+ in the House of Commons chamber.
Credit: 
Parliament TV

In an emotional speech, Lloyd Russell-Moyle said it had hit him "like a wall" when he was diagnosed nine years ago.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was among those who paid tribute to the Brighton Kemptown MP during a Commons debate.

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Speaking to a hushed chamber, Mr Russell-Moyle said: "Next year I will be marking an anniversary of my own - 10 years since I became HIV+. It has been a long journey since the fear of acceptance and today, hopefully, advocacy, knowing that my treatment keeps me healthy and protects any partner that I may have.

"When you are first diagnosed you get that call from the clinic and they just say 'you need to come in', They don't give you the details, and you know immediately that something is going to be wrong, so all the different worst-case scenarios flash through your mind, and of course being a sexually-active young man, HIV is one of the things that flashes through there.

"You kind of know going in there something is wrong and it might well be serious, but at the same time you are working out all the ways that this is all some joke, some tiny thing they're going to tell you about that you'll be laughing about later on."

He added: "It hits you like a wall and though you've prepared yourself for it in your mind, nothing quite prepares you for when they say those words.

"You walk out feeling totally numb and you have a million things running through your mind, but at the same time a sense of absolute nothingness."

The MP said that modern medication meant he was "HIV positive undetectable", meaning he does not have any symptoms and cannot transmit the disease to anyone else.

But he warned that public spending cuts meant that the progress in the fight against the disease was being put at risk.

 

 

Labour MP Tan Dhesi said his colleague was "immensely courageous" and added: "I am sure that his courage will no doubt reduce the stigma and reduce the fear of so many living in our country and further beyond."

Mr Corbyn said Mr Russell-Moyle had made a "brilliant and historic speech".

He said: "We have to close our minds to prejudice and open our minds up to human rights and justice to people all across the globe."